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Gophers Lose To Illinois In Big Ten Tourney Opener

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Andy Lyons/Getty Images

The Gophers staged a spirited comeback in the second half but came up a bucket short in a loss to Illinois at United Center in Chicago.

The Gophers rebounded from their lowest first-half point total of the season for a second half lead, but fell 51-49 to Illinois on a buzzer-beating shot.

Minnesota trailed 25-16 at the half but came out sizzling in the second half, with Austin Hollins getting going in particular by hitting a couple of three-pointers. The Gophers had a chance for the last shot with nine seconds left in a tie game, but the inbounds play was botched and the ball turned over.

Brandon Paul, who scored 25 of Illinois’ 51 points in the game, hit a fadeaway jumper with two Gophers in his face as time expired to get the Illini the win.

Austin Hollins led the Gophers with 16 points, and Andre Hollins was the only other Minnesota player with double digits in scoring (13). As a team, Minnesota turned the ball over 17 times to Illinois 5.

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